Free! – NO smart meters are no more free than Brexit will enable £m’s to be ploughed into the NHS

It’s while since I have commented on smart meters, which I’ve be highly sceptical of for a long time now, but this article in the Daily Telegraph nails one aspect of the push to install them which has caught out those planning the programme. Please see the link below:-

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/26/adverts-governments-smart-meter-roll-banned-claiming-devices/

If ever there was a Government project that went off half-cock this must be high on the list. What with non-compatible smart meters that meant you could not change to some energy suppliers (yes they really were on the market), the possibility of them being hacked and now a story about them being ‘free’ when they are costing us all a small fortune no wonder folks look upon them with great suspicion.

I recall when our house was being rewired in 2011 that a very old electricity meter had to be replaced. The installer said to me that it won’t be in for long as you’ll have a smart meter by 2015. It’s now late 2018 and we haven’t got one. The nearest it has got was a rather odd phone call a few weeks back when I was asked by goodness knows who whether I wanted one. Whether the call was genuine or not I was never going to agree to one being installed by a phone call or a knock at our door.

Sorry, still a sceptic whose paying for a meter we’ve not got and on balance would rather not have until they are tried and tested.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Social Care Costs

The BBC has the story on its web site

www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45750384

What struck me about the BBC piece is that the writer of it uses almost the same words as I did when they describe the timescale for governments not to address this most vital of issues. My blog posting on the subject was on 29th September and here’s a link to it:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/29/sefton-council-its-social-care-budgetary-crisis-as-with-every-other-council-delivering-social-care-responsibilities/

This is what I said – This is a crisis that needed to be faced up to by politicians in government 20 or more years ago, the fact that it still has not been is testament to our broken political system which only thinks very short term indeed.

This is what Nick Triggle has said on the BBC web site on 8th October – In truth, it is an issue that governments have ducked for more than 20 years – Tony Blair was talking about reform as he came to power in 1997.

That we have to fund social care costs much better is a given and those costs have to come, in the main, from general taxation don’t they? Even in our broken political system surely the political parties can come together to agree a way forward rather than them each kicking the can further down the road whilst blaming the other political parties for doing the kicking.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Sefton Council – Its Social Care budgetary crisis (as with every other council delivering social care responsibilities)

Sefton Council Logo

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link below

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/social-care-in-crisis-sefton-15213903

I like Margaret Carney, she became Chief Executive during my time as Leader of Sefton Council. She is a calm and clear thinking council officer in my view so if she says there’s a crisis then you can take it that there is. Of course she is also saying what many other Chief Executives of Councils are saying across the Country and there’s much evidence to back up their concerns.

But as I’ve said before (in previous blog postings on this subject) the crisis in social care has been building for many a year. It would be a mistake to think it’s just another victim of austerity. Yes austerity has made things worse but well before the financial crash social care was hoovering up huge amounts of Sefton Council’s revenue budget often at the expense of other council services. Every yearly budget setting round there would be a need to put greater and greater sums into elderly and children’s social care to keep them afloat – rising demands and every spiraling costs. But as I say Sefton Borough is far from being unique in having to deal with this.

This is a crisis that needed to be faced up to by politicians in government 20 or more years ago, the fact that it still has not been is testament to our broken political system which only thinks very short term indeed.

Whilst we spend Billions of Pounds trying to exit the EU there are real life problems like this that keep getting swept under so many politicians carpets. Our priorities as a Country are utterly bizarre. The poor the sick and vulnerable are paying for the stupidity of our leaders with underfunded social care amongst other vital services, such as the NHS, from which we are diverting funds to fight fantasy projects like Brexit.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Ready for another financial crash? Well it seems one could be on the way!

Sky news have the story on their web site – see link below:-

news.sky.com/story/next-financial-crisis-has-begun-and-will-be-worse-than-2008-crash-economists-warn-11497433

As if we don’t have enough to worry about with our economy tanking because of Brexit! Very sobering indeed with Brexit and potentially another financial crash hitting before we have even recovered from the 2008 crisis. If I was religious I may even recommend praying……

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

EU Referendum – When those charged with ensuring a fair and level playing field tilt that same playing field!

The Guardian has the comment piece on its web site – see link below

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/14/judges-brexit-vote-eu-referendum-vote-leave

I must admit that when it started to appear that the Electoral Commission had acted in a less than even handed way over the EU Referendum my first thought was no surely not but as the whole saga has unfolded some very worrying aspects of the actions of the Commission have been brought to the surface.

I suppose the bottom line is how on earth could a body charged with ensuring fairness in our democratic process get itself into such a situation? It beggars belief frankly.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Cable – has he hit the right notes here? What future is there for the center-left in UK politics?

The Guardian has a comment piece by Vince Cable on its web site – see link below

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/12/wealth-inequality-liberal-democrats-economic-reform

The left of British politics has struggled in recent times to put forward a credible alternative to the popularist right wing policies of the Tories/DUP/UKIP and this despite this same right wing cabal trying to drive through a Brexit which will hurt us all, make the poor poorer and lead to job losses and reduce investment in the UK. You would think this nightmare scenario would galvanise the left into action but sadly that has not happened.

Socialism and an economy based on private capital being invested in it never mix well

Yes Corbyn has his social policy agenda which could look good to voters at face value, but of course he is also wedded to the the right wing policy of Brexit! He’s in that rather bizarre political fix because many of his so called ‘working class’ supporters voted for a Brexit that will sadly shoot us all in the foot (but the poor more so) if it is followed through. So Labour is not presently credible because its policies of the left will be knocked out by Brexit. What’s more socialism and an economy based on private capital being invested in it never mix well. On that basis Corbyn’s lot would probably be a very unhappy one if he was given the opportunity to implement his policies. Indeed, he would be unlikely to be able to deliver his agenda other than in the very short term because economic trouble would surely be stalking him.

Influence the thinking of those across the left

So how do the ideas of Vince Cable stack up? Well he’s leading a party with a low support base so being able to implement his agenda looks to be a significant challenge. I suppose his best bet is to try to influence the thinking of those across the left, but not of the hard left of course. His agenda seems liberal, progressive and even radical. I particularly like his ideas to try to tackle the area of land value as it is of course the basis of the huge imbalance in wealth in the UK.

Back to the days of fascism?

British politics has been turned on its head since the 2016 Brexit vote. The Tories are all but UKIP under a Conservative flag these days and worryingly they have people amongst their leading lights who hark back to the days of fascism. Bluntly a political party with only around 100,000 members, many of them of the elderly, rich and far right are running this country into the ground because they will benefit from such a move. Brexit is the vehicle to achieve their aims and the left has not found a way to combat them because there’s no one of stature (with widespread credibility) on the left to lead that charge.

Breadth of support across the political spectrum

It’s as though our two major UK political parties have both gone into crisis at the same time and this really has not happened before. Labour under say David Miliband would be widely credible, Labour under Corbyn is hugely popular with a section of the British public but it does not in my view have the breadth of support across the political spectrum as Blair did to carry the day it seems.

Realignment of the left

Now don’t get me wrong Blair made some huge mistakes. Iraq obviously and trying to bring private companies into the NHS come to mind as examples but there was a much softer issue of huge importance which he let slip. It slipped ironically because of the huge majority he was given by our rather warped electoral system. That result made him think that realignment of the left need not be pursued further. His talks with Ashdown came to nothing because he thought he did not need to pursue them any more and his party was far from keen on those talks too. That was a huge error of judgement and an easy way out in my view and it probably started the decline (although no one realised it at the time other than a few enlightened folk) into the mess we presently find ourselves in.

The super rich will indeed become more wealthy at the expense of the rest of us

I have deliberately written this posting in a reasonably even handed way as I am convinced that progressives across all the parties of the center and left (although this would almost certainly have to preclude the hard left) need to find a reasonable common agenda which they can coalesce around. This needs to be done to face down the the rich and presently all too powerful right wing. If the left fails the right will reduce workers rights, environmental protections, food standards etc. on the back of Brexit and the minority of the super rich will indeed become more wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

Put tribal politics to one side?

So having gone though these sobering issues is Cable on the right track? Will anyone be listening to his ideas to re-balance our fractured society? Or will the center and left continue to beat itself up whilst letting the need for great reform in the UK flounder on the back of Brexit? My view is that Cable is putting a credible progressive plan out there which others could work around and build upon if they could just put tribal politics to one side.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.